42 frostpunk A tale of ice-cold survival • PLATFORM PC • STYLE 1-PLAYER STRATEGY • PUBLISHER 11-BIT STUDIOS • DEVELOPER 11-BIT STUDIOS • RELEASE 2018 11 -bit studios are no strangers to misery. Their last effort, This War of Mine, was a surpris-ing, poignant game that blended gameplay with story to tell a desperate survival story inspired by the Siege of Sarajevo. The studio’s next game, Frostpunk, is similarly oppressive, but expands This War of Mine’s scope in several interesting ways. Instead of being ravaged by war, the people you manage in Frostpunk are on the verge of dying out from the freezing cold, which has covered most of the world. Instead of building up a group of survivors trying to make it on their own, you control an entire community of people huddled around the few steam-powered engines left on the planet. These cores dictate your society; you can’t build living quarters too far away from them, though you can set up workstations and other facilities in the cold. In fact, in order to get the supplies you need to keep your people alive, you’ll have to not only brave the cold, but find ways to make it easier for everyone to work there. As you build up your society, you work your way through a tech tree, hot 50 which offers key bonuses like letting you redirect the heat from your central engine to other areas, allowing you to grow your settlement further. Watching a representative from 11-bit play, it reminded me more of the Tropico series, with its emphasis on characterizing the people you man-age, than SimCity. Still, keeping with the theme of desperation, these aren’t buildings with four walls you’re constructing; even the most sophisticated societies I saw in my demo still looked like a sea of tents and wooden shacks lit by torchlight.